Each year, middle school students from all five boroughs submit their plays to our Young Playwrights for Change competition! This year we had a record number of incredible playwrights submit their work; it was so hard to choose five for our staged reading.
Our five finalists: Emily, Madison, Nimoratul, Stella and Tula each shared their unique perspective and voice through their work and we were extremely proud to honor each of them as Regional Finalists.
Today we’re excited to bring you our young playwrights reflections on the Young Playwrights for Change process. Read about Nimoratul’s Young Playwrights for Change journey:
I love writing plays and writing in general. To me it’s a way to get out if this world, and go places you never imagined, by writing about them and “imagining” if you were actually there, in your story. For me it’s a way to escape all my problems, and somewhere, that I know I’ll enjoy! Writing has helped me to express how I feel, in an entertaining way, and it helps get a message out!
My play, I Am Not a Terrorist, was inspired by a situation that I went through. In seventh grade, a boy had told me that I should go back to the country I came from, and it really hurt me. Sarah Abbas, my main character, went through the same situation, and got bullied for what she believed in.
Nowadays whenever I turn on the television, on the news I always hear about Muslims getting treated unfairly, and people consider us as a “terrorist”, which is a horrible thing to say. But it’s not only Muslims that are facing this situation, there are many more like African Americans, Mexicans and many more.
I wrote this play, so people can understand how bad bullying is, especially if you don’t know the persons background, because a “little joke” can hurt them big time. Also, you should stand up for what’s right, and fight for what you think is right.
The best part of seeing my play staged was seeing my play “alive”. The crew did such a good job! I was so amazed! The other best part of this whole thing was seeing my family happy for what I do. I believe that if I can try the best of what I can do to touch the stars, I will be able to touch the stars, as long as I try.
“Dreams do not become reality through magic, it takes sweat, determination and hard work”- Colin Powell.
My advice to other young playwrights is to write about things that interest you, and can interest others as well. Always write with compassion and write from the heart. Never give up, just because you can’t think of an idea, or write about something that’s interesting. Get inspiration from the news, books, television, even inspiring people! A major tip I learned is not to be scared about what you write, just keep on writing! Don’t be afraid to be who you are, because otherwise there wouldn’t be a you in the world.
My biggest takeaway from this experience is that my play has been heard of, and I actually won the competition. I still can’t believe that I did, and I’m just so thankful for this opportunity!
Young Playwrights for Change is a collaborative middle school playwriting competition run by TYA/USA and AATE. The mission of Young Playwrights for Change is to produce meaningful conversations that will ripple across our nation to provoke change. Our goal is to spark conversation and discussion throughout classrooms, schools and communities. New York City Children’s Theater was proud to be the New York City Regional Host for our third year!